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Posts Tagged: "Senator Chuck Grassley"

USMCA Takes Another Step Forward in 25-3 Senate Committee Vote

The United States Senate Finance Committee today considered the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) in an Open Executive Session and voted 25 to 3 to move the bill forward.

The USMCA enjoys wide bipartisan support, but Senators Pat Toomey (R-PA), Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) voted against the bill. Toomey and Cassidy objected largely to process issues, as the Committee was not allowed to present amendments under a fast-track process, while Whitehouse was critical of the agreement’s lack of urgency on climate change. President Donald Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reached agreement on the USMCA, which would, if ratified, replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), on December 10. Notably for the IP community, the new version struck down provisions that would have expanded regulatory data protection for biologics inventions from five years in Mexico and eight years in Canada to 10 years in both countries.

Another Front in China’s Economic War: Senate IP Subcommittee Seeks to Solve USPTO’s Fraudulent Trademarks Problem

Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) yesterday led a hearing of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary’s Subcommittee on Intellectual Property titled “Fraudulent Trademarks: How They Undermine the Trademark System and Harm American Consumers and Businesses.” The hearing included five witnesses from academia, private practice and the business community who testified on ways to declutter the U.S. trademark register, curb fraudulent trademark filings from China, and improve current mechanisms for enforcing trademarks in U.S. courts, among other topics. All agreed that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO’s) August rule change requiring that foreign trademark applicants use U.S. counsel has likely only temporarily helped to ebb the flow of fraudulent filings from China, as bad actors are already adjusting their strategies.

Capitol Hill Roundup for the Week of December 3, 2018

This week on Capitol Hill, the Senate appropriations Committee will hold a hearing on efforts leading to advanced nuclear reactor technology while the Senate rules committee will consider a bill that would amend the nomination process and the required qualifications for the Register of Copyrights. Over in the House of Representatives, hearings on artificial intelligence applications for national defense, Google’s data collection practices and a recently passed bill for bridging the digital divide will also take place this week.

USPTO Director Andrei Iancu Discusses Patentability of Algorithms, PTAB Proceedings at Senate Judiciary Committee

Sen. Harris followed up by asking whether algorithms were mathematical representations of laws of nature. “You’re getting right to the heart of the issue,” Iancu said. What Iancu said after that should be a major breath of fresh air to inventors and patent owners frustrated by Section 101 validity issues in the wake of Alice and Mayo: “This is one place where I believe courts have gone off the initial intent. There are human-made algorithms, human-made algorithms that are the result of human ingenuity that are not set from time immemorial and that are not absolutes, they depend on human choices. Those are very different from E=mc2 and they are very different from the Pythagorean theorem, for example.”

USPTO Director Nominee Andrei Iancu has Confirmation Hearing Before the Senate Judiciary Committee

On the afternoon of Wednesday, November 29th, the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary held a hearing to consider the nomination of four political appointees from the Trump Administration. Included among the days’ nominees was Andrei Iancu, President Trump’s selection to serve as Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Though the nomination hearing was brief and Iancu’s remarks were very measured, there would be reason for patent owners to think that a more balanced playing field at the USPTO could start to form should Iancu be confirmed as Director of the agency.

St. Regis Mohawks, BIO send letters to Senate Judiciary slamming the unfair playing field of IPRs at PTAB

On Thursday, October 12th, a pair of letters addressed to the bipartisan leadership of the Senate Judiciary Committee were delivered in an attempt to inform Senators on that committee of various issues in play regarding the recent patent deal between multinational pharmaceutical firm Allergan and the sovereign St. Regis Mohawk Tribe. The two groups sending the letters represent stakeholders in the U.S. patent system coming from very different backgrounds who realize that there are fundamental flaws in the system created by inter partes review (IPR) proceedings which are carried out at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB).

Senate judiciary committee holds nomination hearing for Vishal J. Amin to serve as IPEC

At the top of Amin’s prepared remarks delivered to the Senate judiciary committee, he noted the fact that the importance of protecting IP was made explicit by Article I, Section 8, Clause 8 of the U.S. Constitution, often referred to as “the IP clause.” Amin said that his first responsibility as IPEC, if confirmed, would be to work with the White House as well as senior leadership at relevant agencies and departments to ensure well-coordinated efforts as well as the effective and efficient use of resources. “We need to ask ourselves three important questions — What are we doing well? What isn’t working? And what should we be doing?” Amin’s remarks read. Second, Amin would use existing law enforcement tools in order to ensure IP laws are enforced and prevent counterfeit and infringing goods from entering the U.S. market by engaging with stakeholders and trading partners on those issues. Third, he would focus on developing an IP enforcement policy which addresses all sectors of intellectual property including patents, copyright, trademark and trade secrets.

Senate judiciary committee holds hearing on intellectual property as a driver of innovation

“As a society, we depend on innovators… to make our lives better and to solve the challenges we face,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), chairman of the House judiciary committee. Grassley cited statistics published by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC) on the 40 million American employed by IP-intensive industries. These same industries contribute $5.8 trillion to the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) and account for 74 percent of U.S. exports, according to the Global IP Center. In his opening statements, Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) cited separate statistics from the U.S. Department of Commerce which reported $6.6 trillion in value added to national GDP from IP-intensive industries.

Cruel and Unusual: Rumors swirl, still no answer on PTO Director

Fresh rumors surfaced late last night, however, suggesting that Commissioner for Patents Drew Hirshfeld is currently Acting Director of the USPTO. Two independent sources also told us that an internal candidate has been elevated to the position of Deputy Director of the USPTO, although it is not known whether that is on a permanent or temporary basis. It is believed that the Deputy Director of the USPTO is now Anthony Scardino, who was previously serving as Chief Financial Officer at the USPTO… Whatever the resolution of this matter is, this sad chapter in USPTO history has been grossly unfair to Michelle Lee. Either she is Director or she is not Director. Someone somewhere has to know the answer to this very simple, straightforward question, but no one with authority will comment.

IP and the 115th Congress: Meet the Senate Republicans on the Judiciary Committee

The Senate Judiciary Committee is where any action relating to intellectual property reform will be played out during the 115th Congress, at least on the Senate side of the Capitol. Unlike in previous years, we enter 2017 without much support for a fresh round of patent reform, but at least some patent reform measures are sure to be introduced during the 115th Congress… Look for efforts to grant the Copyright Office greater autonomy and independence during the 115th Congress, even a push to remove the Copyright Office out form under the Library of Congress… Without further ado, meet the Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Stepping Back from the Cliff: The Year Congress Didn’t Cave to the Anti-Patent Lobby

For a many years, the pied pipers of the anti-patent lobby whistled the patent troll melody and Congress, desperately in need of a glorious bipartisan victory, pushed and ultimately passed inventor killing legislation… For whatever reason, 2016 represented the year that Congress itself, or at least enough Members of Congress, got serious about considering the negative effects of pandering to the anti-patent lobby. Those effects are now clear and the stage is set to turn it back. Of course, we can anticipate there will be new pushes for patent reform in 2017 and beyond. Perhaps some of those attempts at patent reform will be from the pro-patent side, but we need to remain vigilant because the anti-patent lobby has not and will not go away.

Senators told FTC report on patent assertion entities due out this spring

When patents were brought up in the hearing, however, it seemed to focus mainly on their effects in the pharmaceutical world. Ramirez’s prepared remarks for the hearing touched on pay for delay in pharmaceutical patent infringement settlements, and she noted that the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 2013 decision in Federal Trade Commission v. Actavis has given the FTC a greater capacity to challenge pay for delay schemes in court. Ramirez also stated that a report on the FTC investigation into patent assertion entities (PAEs) will be made available sometime this spring.

Patent Reform Returns: Venue Reform Bill to be introduced in Senate

While widespread patent reform seems unlikely during the remainder of the 114th Congress, targeted patent reform is another matter entirely. Indeed, the Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship recently held a hearing largely attacking the America Invents Act (AIA) and the current reform bills and in a bi-partisan manner. And this week we may see a bi-partisan push in the Senate for a bill that focuses only on venue reform, which will be co-sponsored by Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO). The bill, available in draft form, is titled the Venue Equity and Non-Uniformity Elimination Act of 2016.

The Patent System: It is important for America that we get it right

Small businesses and independent inventors are critical to revolutionary advancement of American technology. They file over 20% of the applications at the USPTO, and their patents are more likely to encompass breakthrough inventions, rather than incremental change. While Congress has considered a range of legislative reforms, the other branches of government have also been moving forward with challenges confronting the patent system. It is important for America that we get this right. Thoughtful legislation can further improve the patent system and lead to more job creation and economic growth as long as we remember that it is the patent system fuels America’s innovative spirit.

President Obama should nominate Judge Raymond Chen to the Supreme Court

Chen, an Obama appointee, was confirmed only several years ago by a vote of 97-0. Born in 1968 he is 47 years old, meaning he could easily serve on the Court throughout the next generation, in modern times an important consideration for a Presidential nomination to the High Court. Chen also comes from the Federal Circuit, which is anything but politically controversial, primarily responsible for handling patent appeals. Chen would also become the first Asian American to serve on the Supreme Court, another potentially important consideration for President Obama, who has shown throughout his term in Office that he likes breaking glass ceilings with appointments and nominations. Thus, Chen would have virtually all the same upside as would Srinavasan without any of the baggage that would make confirmation difficult, if not impossible.